Kimberley, the capital of the Northern Cape Province was established in the late 1800s after the discovery of diamonds and the Second Boer War. As one of the most beautiful places in the country Kimberley is considerate as a historical significance with notable personalities such as Cecil Rhodes, Barney Barnato and the De Beers company. Today the very place that saw prospectors win and lose their fortunes is a modern manicured city showing signs of preservation, care and growing investment. Itâ€™s rich in accommodation, attractions and restaurant offerings.
TOP 8 THINGS TO SEE
1.THE BIG HOLE
A pebble was picked up on the banks of the Orange river near Hopetown in 1866 by a young boy called Erasmus Jacobs. Dr. A. Atherstone discovered that is was a .23,25 carat diamond when it somehow landed in his hands. A couple a years later another diamond was discovered and suddenly the fortune seekers began pouring in and digging the land. By the time they stopped mining in August 1914 more than 2722 kilograms of diamonds was found leaving a 214 meter chasma known as the Big Hole. You can get a underground experience, a visit to the Old Town, peek into the diamond vault and learn about the history of the Diamond Rush in the museum.
2.WILDEBEEST KUIL ROCK ART CENTRE
The Centre offers a 800m trip into the history of the Khoi/San and their creative spirit - with over 400 rock engravings from the !Xun and Khwe Sani People on a tiny hill just outside Kimberley. Arts and crafts of the Khoi/San are for sale in the shop at the centre.
3.PIONEERS OF AVIATION MUSEUM
In 1913 South Africaâ€™s first flying school opened here and is regarded as the cradle of aviation in South Africa. The museum houses a life-size replica of the Compton-Paterson bi-plane which was used to train the pilots. Ann Maria Bocciarelli, the first female pilot on the African Continent was trained at the school.
Situated at Kimberleyâ€™s railway station, the museum showcases the history of railways and the development of other forms of transport. On display is a cycle that was used during the Anglo-Boer War, model trains form the Baxter Collections and the cabin of an authentic steam locomotive.
5.WILLIAM HUMPHREYS ART GALLERY
The art gallery opened in 1952 in honour of William Benbow Humphreys and is considered one of South African finest museums. On display is works form the 16th and 17th century Dutch and Flemish Old Master, British and French painting, antique furniture and other objects. Presently the museum is concentrating collecting South African works of art. The museum also serves as a educational and cultural central with temporary exhibitions and art workshops.
The museum is one of the earliest museums in South Africa. The museum houses major natural history and cultural history collections including a botanical herbarium, zoology collections, a history archive, ethnography collections, archaeology and rock art collections, physical anthropology, palaeontology and geology collections.
7.SOL PLAATJE MUSEUM
The late writer, journalist and activist Sol Plaatje penned Mhudi, the first novel by a black South Africa, when he was living at No 32 Angel Street, Malay Camp in Kimberley. The house was turned into a museum to honour him for his contribution to South African literature.
On display is the photographs of Alfred Duggan-Cronin, Aubrey Elliot, Jean Morris and Alice Mertens. Their photographs of the indigenous peoples of southern Africa, taken between 1919 and 1980, show aspects of traditional life and dress now largely vanished. The collection consists of negatives and prints, as well as artefacts of material culture of the tribes, including beadwork, costumes, pottery, iron tools and wood carvings.
OTHER PLACES TO SEE
The best way to get around in Kimberley is by taxi, bus, bicycle or tram.